Thursday, October 10, 2019

American WarAmerican War by Omar El Akkad
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A remarkable book describing a dystopian world that is a lot like our world. Hard to describe the plot without giving it all away. So read it. Its beautifully written and hangs together beautifully.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The TestamentsThe Testaments by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A continuation of the masterpiece, The Handmaid's Tale this book brings the story to a somewhat more satisfying conclusion. It is delightfully readable and shows great polish and restraint leaving the reader to imagine much of what the world would look like.

I loved it.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Memory PoliceThe Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A remarkable book. This book is fascinating. It is a glimpse of a different, exotic world that is just a little like ours. How do people react to the slight loss of.... freedom, health, etc. Its so much more. Reading it puts you into this world and you get the feeling of hopelessness and dis pare.
Might well be described as a cozy dystopian novel.
Written in 1994, this is the first English translation.


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Sunday, September 8, 2019

Contraband (Stone Barrington #50)Contraband by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great month for me. Silva and Woods, both with new books.
Stone Barrington is maturing nicely. In this 50th episode he is up to his usual tricks, solving mysteries and loving beautiful, and not particularly young, women. His taste seems to have matured but he is still the glamorus detective type from the movies of the thirties and forties, dressed in a dinner jacket and riding in his armored car or flying his own jet.

Keep 'em coming Stuart, I love every minute of this book, and all the others.

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The New Girl (Gabriel Allon #19)The New Girl by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As usual I loved it. Without a doubt my favorite season of the year is when Daniel Sliva publishes a new book. I love the buzz among my friends and reading companions and then the joy of reading is his book. The story is timely, the prose is clever, the characters are interesting, fully dimentional and the story is complex enough to keep my interest.
I felt as though some characters might be being groomed to be the spotlight characters in futher novels. A spinoff series might be nice. Sarah is a character who might be able to stand alone.

Suffice it to say, the rest of the year is waiting for Daniel to write another book.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

HomegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful, but sad story. It may be an eye opener for some but for me it reinforced my belief that the plight of African American's is a problem that was created and continued by a white, slavery mentality. It exists to this day in the way that dark skinned people are treated in society.
A society that claims equality and human rights but in practice discriminates on the basis of race, class or gender identity is a fraud and should be called out at every turn.
Then to elect a racist bigot and give voice to the filth of prejudice and racist ravings further compounds the shame of our society.


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Friday, August 2, 2019

Skin Game (Teddy Fay, #3)Skin Game by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Listen, don't ask me if I liked a Stuart Woods book. I love them all. Even the worst plot lines with all kinds of holes still entertain me to know end. They read fast and before I know it I'm waiting for the next. In truth, if you have not read the other Teddy stories and the Stone series, this would still be an adventure story but its partly part of the series story.

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Something in the WaterSomething in the Water by Catherine Steadman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a mystery. This one is good to the end. Its a simple story but filled with twists and turns that make it move along quickly. I love a book that starts with the ending so that you spend the whole book wondering how the author will get there.
I also like reading books for book club because they take me out of my comfort zone. This is a first novel by Steadman but I hope its not her last.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Not Our KindNot Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, what a book. This is wonderful writing, rich, complete characters that are interesting and often frightening. The setting and the plot are wonderful.
Today, again, people are not afraid to be racist or anti-Semitic. This book hearkens back to those days when many clubs and venues were restricted. No Jews or Negros allowed. I never lived this but my parents did. My grandparents escaped the pogroms of Russia only to find plenty of racism here.
In my youth I thought these things had ended but I might have been wrong...

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Neon Prey (Lucas Davenport, #29)Neon Prey by John Sandford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Sandford might be the most readable author i've ever read. This book can't be put down. The twists and turns, the characters and deceptions are wonderful. All in all you know what's going to happen but Sandford brings the story to life. That's why after 29 books, Lucas is still interesting.

Bravo, can't wait for the next one.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Art of Hearing HeartbeatsThe Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I guess every book isn't for everyone. This book is highly rated and everyone I know loved it. I was bored to tears, had the whole plot, what there is of it, worked out in no time and was bored. Its a book for book club so as usual, they will show me how wrong I am.....

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs, #15)The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The best for last? This is the best of the Maisie Dobbs novels to date. The characters are mature, full and there is little question about their sincerity. In other words, the seem like real, historical figures.Of courst it is the author's wonderful imagination and her ability to weave real events, people and issues into the story. Brilliant work. I can't wait for another.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

To Die But Once (Maisie Dobbs, #14)To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having some knowledge of Dunkirk, this book put a totally human face on the early events of WWII. The story, while intensly personal, tells me so much about life in England during this early period of the war. Maisie's "work" as an investigator seems to brush against so many significant events and so many important concepts. The story is genius. It brings so many things together that one needs to digest it and spend time thinking about some of the ideas therein.

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

In This Grave Hour (Maisie Dobbs, #13)In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another page turner, mystery from Jacqueline Winspear. Again I learned more about Maisie but more important I got a feel for the intrigue and emotion spawned by the first days of WWII in England. This has done more than educate, it has immersed me in that culture. With characters that jump off the page and make the story more than real. What a great author.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Journey to Munich (Maisie Dobbs, #12)Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the best of the series so far. Reading about Munich before the war was chilling. In this current political climate it sounded a bit ominous. Maisie's time in Munich was filled with intrigue and subtrifuge but I believe it will give way to additional themes in later books.
Again, this is a history lesson wrapped in a mystery. Loved it

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Friday, May 31, 2019

A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs, #11)A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As ususal I come away from this book better for having read it. Knowing about the Spanish revolution is not the same as reading about people embroiled in it. Ms Winspear teaches me more than history, I learn about the emotion and intrigue that was surely present. Of course, it is a joy to follow Maisie's complex emotions too. There may be more lessons here. Coping with grief and sadness for one.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Winter GardenWinter Garden by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked the first half. A great first half. A pretty good third quarter, then I got sort of bored. I'm glad I read it. Good history, great character development. I really felt for these people. I can't wait for my book club to show me what I missed. They always show convince me that I really liked the book.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Leaving Everything Most Loved (Maisie Dobbs, #10)Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very special book because it seems to mark a watershed for several of the characters. I'm excited to see where Maisie goes from here. As usual this is a book with twists and turns and a very interesting ending.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs #9)Elegy for Eddie by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A most enjoyable book. Sheds light on how tyranny can come in many forms, and quietly without a peep until it is too late. Such a simple story but with a multitude of messages. Maisie is about to move out of her world and I am about to learn more about this fascinating period between the wars. Jacqueline Winspear, I think you have a special genius for teaching and entertaining at the same time.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A Lesson in Secrets  (Maisie Dobbs, #8)A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The stories get a little more complex and the characters continue to intrigue me. I feel like I'm taking a history course about Britain between the wars. I'm hooked. Here comes #9.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

China DollsChina Dolls by Lisa See
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another book club book that I am so glad I read. The story, though not a mystery, is a real page turner. I could not wait to see what became of our characters. Lisa See is brilliant and weaves three simple stories with just enough detail to keep you interested. The story moves quickly through a period of history that I thought I knew. It was a different perspective that I appreciated.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Mapping of Love and Death (Maisie Dobbs, #7)The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love these books. I feel so educated in British history when I read them. Don't get me wrong, the stories are a pleasure, intriguing and hard to put down. This book seeemed like a watershed for many of the recurring characters. I look forward to #8.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs, #6)Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear


These Maisie Dobbs stories are more than just exciting mysteries, they are a lesson in British history. I know so much more about this post WWI period than I did before.
Thie story is captivating and the characters are vivid and so multi-dimensional. I love the writing and the stories. On to @7.

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Wild Card (Stone Barrington, #49)Wild Card by Stuart Woods


A great book, as are all the Stone Barrington stories. Each one has a twist that keeps me waiting for the next one.

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Dead Line (Liz Carlyle, #4)Dead Line by Stella Rimington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just love reading about Liz. She's smart, clever and never seems to miss a clue. She also has great luck, as is pointed out near the end fo this book. The book is partly, or maybe mostly sloved based on a chance sighting. This is the only weak plot element in this complex and interesting story.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Ordinary GraceOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting book, clever plot and well executed. I like the characters and the writing style. This is a book for book club and it would not have been a choice that I would have made. That said, I liked it. The plot was a bit too transparent. I guessed it early on and only wondered how the author would reveal the ending.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

The HuntressThe Huntress by Kate Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kate Quinn is brilliant. True or not this is a story and a lesson. Its worth reading for its entertainment value but stick around for the history. Remarkably accurate in ways that really count. A lot to learn about here. Love, war and just about everything in between. Action that is pulse driving and love that is tender and warm. The bad guys are bad and the good guys are entertaining and brilliant, in their own way. I loved the Alice Network and this book is worthy nest book. I can't wait for her next novel. What a great talent.

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A great book. What a wonderful storyteller Liane Moriarty is. A complex plot with complex and subtle characters who pull you through the story as if you know the people.
The topic is so worth discussion and the story leaves all kinds of paths to think about.
This was a book club book and the discussion was rich and significant to all of us. Abuse and bullying is so common that we tend to miss it when we should decry it.

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Lost Girls of ParisThe Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very good book about a subject I like to read about. WWII spys and intrigue. The characters jump from the page and I felt a little let down by the ending. No spoiler, read it yourself. I hope Pam Jenoff treats this like number one in a series and that she keeps these characters and continues the story.
Her writing is wonderful and the research and accuracy of the places and times is obvious.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' RollThe Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll by Ian S. Port
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have ever heard me talk about my days selling guitars you will hear an echo as you read this book. From 1963-68 I was around selling guitars and amps. Later, of course, I was and still am a consumer of these products.
Bringing the music and the hardware together with the personalities of the tinkerers and inventors is fascinating. The first time I saw a Bigsby guitar I wondered how Leo Fender got away with it. And the first time I played a stratocaster and later owned a jazzmaster, I wondered how the tremolo didn't get a patent claim against it.
If you read the book, and I suggest if you like music that you do, here is an anecdote not in the book.
After the beatles became a thinkg I was selling Vox guitars and amps. Accross town there wer stores selling Fender and Gibson. Vox was so popular we could not keep them in stock and the salesmen from those other stores would come over to see why. We discovered that the reason was the beatles and almost nothing else. The amps were big and loud but also tempermental and prone to failure.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Illegal Action: (Liz Carlyle 3)Illegal Action: by Stella Rimington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quite a book. Liz Carlyle is becomming one of my favorite spies. The story is interesting and the characters, are riviting. I believe these books are what one might call a page turner, can't stop reading until you find the crook, or more importantly, how Liz finds the bad guy.

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted so much to love this book but instead I wandered through it not knowing where it was going. I got lost in the myriad of characters and fixated on some dead end subplots. I lost track of the time order and confused the past and present. Maybe that's what PH had in mind. At the end it seemed to coagulate into a story but by that time I could not wait to finish it.
This is a book for my book club and usually after my very bright friends talk about the book I change my tune. I don't think that will happen with this one.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Over the past couple of decades I've had a lot of guitars. As the collection got smaller, it also got more and more specialized. I still play a lot but I'm down to just five guitars. 

Instead of one big rack in the family room I've spread them all over the house.  Now that it seems I may be making less changes, here is some history from about 2009 to today... Enjoy.